How to choose a yoga mat
This is a question I get asked more than any other, so I would love to shed some light on this particular subject and give you some pointers and a few recommendations.
THICK OR THIN
Mats range from around 3mm thick to 10mm. And each has it’s own benefits. A thicker mat will provide you with more cushioning under your knees, wrists, hips etc so if you are practising a slower style of yoga, are pregnant or if you just need extra support then this is a good option for you.
If you have a more dynamic practice then thicker mats tend to slip and slide and get in the way. They can slow you down quite a lot so you need to use a 6mm or thinner mat. It’s also important to note that a thicker mat will make balancing poses harder, so if you are using a thick mat it’s a good idea to come off it for balancing poses like vrksasana (tree pose).
If you are new to yoga, and don’t want to spend too much money on a mat because you’re not even sure you like this yoga malarky, then you can find something decent below £20. If you are a committed yogi and looking for something to stand the test of time then you can gaze around the £50 mark. For the serious practitioners who spend a lot of time on their mats and need it to be extremely hard wearing you are looking over £100 and that mat will last you a lifetime!
For beginner yogis I like Yogamatters sticky mats. To begin with you may find them slippery but with use they become less so. They are a great budget, beginners mat and they are the mats I use for students in my class who don’t have their own.
If you want to spend a bit more and invest in a quality mat I would suggest Sweaty Betty’s Grip Yoga mat which retails at around £60. But just be aware that this mat is 100% latex, so if you have a latex allergy then avoid it! My mat is the Linen mat from MLife. It’s latex free and non-toxic plus it has great grip. It absorbs really well too which is helpful in a sweaty class, but doesn’t hold smells so I don’t even need to clean it.
If you want to invest in a yoga mat for life I love the Liforme mat which is super grippy, made from rubber and a little bit bigger than the standard size mats. It currently retails at around £100.